The courage to go after sacred cows is one of Donald Trump’s more appealing, if controversial, traits. He raised the issue of NATO, contending the USA pays far too much of the freight in the mutual defense pact.
Such proposals, the candidate has made clear, are not so much policies as “suggestions” or what one might call, from his business perspective, negotiating positions.
Regarding the NATO suggestion, frankly, I am of two minds. While it’s clearly arguable the American contribution is excessive, the investment might be necessary for the preservation of the alliance (weak as it is) and to maintain the necessary U.S. leadership position. “Leading from behind” has been one of the obvious fiascoes of the 21st century.
But I have another, somewhat similar, suggestion for Donald about which I have no ambivalence. It’s time for the U.S. seriously to curtail, if not end, its mammoth annual contribution to the United Nations that dwarfs those made by all the other 192 member-states
Here’s how CNS News reported the situation in 2012:
In one of its last actions of the year, the United Nations General Assembly on Christmas Eve agreed to extend for another three years the formula that has U.S. taxpayers contributing more than one-fifth of the world body’s regular budget.
No member-state called for a recorded vote, and the resolution confirming the contributions that each country will make for the 2013-2015 period was summarily adopted. The assembly also approved a two-year U.N. budget of $5.4 billion.
The U.S. has accounted for 22 percent of the total regular budget every year since 2000, and will now continue to do so for the next three years.
That’s 22 percent for virtually nothing.
While the UN many have been formed in an outburst of post-World War II idealism, it has descended into an international society for Third World kleptocrats of mind-boggling proportions—the Iraq War oil-for-food scandal being only one nauseating example--who engage in non-stop Israel-bashing to distract their populaces from their own thievery. What in the Sam Hill do we get out of that?
Everybody knows this, of course. When critical negotiations take place (i.e., the Iran nuclear talks, speaking of fiascoes, and the Syrian peace talks, not that they have much chance of success), they are removed from the UN and conducted between the serious players. No one is curious about what Zimbabwe’s Mugabe has to say, at least one hopes not.
Now it’s certain this suggestion—defunding the UN—would be treated with (feigned) uncomprehending derision by Hillary and even more contempt by Bernie, who would most probably like to cede US hegemony to the United Nations anyway, assuming some good socialist, like Venezuela’s Maduro or Brazil’s Rousseff (well, maybe not her), was secretary-general.
But the American voter, I would imagine, when informed of even a smattering of the facts, would support Trump in defunding or, more likely, greatly curtailing America’s financial support of the United Nations. It’s a negotiation, after all.
Maybe the UN can be reduced to a few divisions of more practical use like the World Health Organization. UNESCO has, sadly, already gone the way of political insanity. Whatever the case, a smaller UN footprint in NYC would be a big step in the right direction. Think what a positive it would be for the traffic and parking situation on the East side of Manhattan.
Roger L. Simon is a prize-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His next book – I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already – will be published by Encounter Books on June 14, 2016.